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Weapons of Mass Destruction: An Encyclopedia of Worldwide Policy, Technology, and History; Volume I: Chemical and Biological Weapons and Volume II:: ... Technology, and History (2 volume set) Hardcover – December 22, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-1851094905 ISBN-10: 1851094903

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1050 pages
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO (December 22, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851094903
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851094905
  • Product Dimensions: 3 x 7.2 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,501,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

According to the U.S. Code Title 50, "War and National Defense," the term weapon of mass destruction means "any weapon or device that is intended, or has the capability, to cause death or serious bodily injury to a significant number of people through the release, dissemination, or impact of toxic or poisonous chemicals or their precursors; a disease organism; radiation or radioactivity." Eighty-two contributors have amassed an impressive amount of historical and current information pertaining to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in these volumes. Volume 1 covers "Chemical and Biological Weapons," and volume 2 covers "Nuclear Weapons." Each volume has its own bibliography, but the index in each volume is cumulative. Illustrations are good, though limited in number.

More than 500 alphabetically arranged and signed articles cover all aspects of WMD from definitions of terms such as Kiloton, Novichok, and payload to such topics as Korean War, National Strategic Target List, and Pugwash Conferences. The articles are well written for general adult readers. Of particular interest are the excerpts from various treaties that discuss WMD or related destructive activities. Volume 1 is extremely detailed in describing all of the chemical and biological substances that could be part of WMD and what the consequences would be if each substance were used.

No other reference source covers such a wide array of topics related to WMD. It will dispel many myths but will also draw attention to the lethal consequences of WMD. In today's world climate of unrest and terrorism, this is a highly recommended resource that will be of great interest to public and academic libraries. H. Robert Malinowski
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


• The only comprehensive reference of policies, events, places, technical terms, and historical context regarding weapons of mass destruction

• Volumes organized by like weapons so each can be used independently to study the topic or weapon of particular interest

• Alphabetical listings and combined indexing in each volume provide an increased ability to browse and quick access to specific entries

• Over 500 A–Z entries written by 95 international experts, organized in two volumes divided by types of weapons

• Timeline that covers leading political, military, and weapons-specific events since 1945

• Excerpts from key international documents

• Combined index (with volume numbers noted) at the end of each volume

• Includes numerous illustrations and photographs

"The overall quality of this encyclopedia makes it a useful addition to WMD resource collections. Recommended. General readers; undergraduates."



"High school, academic, and military libraries will find this attractively designed and superbly indexed set a major purchase that will likely get repeated use."


American Reference Books Annual

"Weapons of Mass Destruction is a valuable resource that will fill a gap in most academic and public library reference collections."


Reference & User Services Quarterly

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John Matlock on May 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I don't know when I last picked up an encyclopedia and read it cover to cover, but I did this one. It was truly fascinating in its depth and understanding. I spent more time on Volume One, Chemical and Biological Weapons because I know less about them than the Nuclear Weapons covered in Volume Two.

I can't swear that the information in Volume One is totally accurate, but the information in Volume Two is dead on. And therefore I have to presume that Volume One is the same.

The books cover everything from the earliest experiments and incidents to very recent data. There are hundreds of entries, each written by a specialist in that particular area. The entries on World War II alone cover an amazing amount of material that simply isn't generally known.

This includes things like the Japanese Unit 731, the Porton Down research establishment in England, the production in the United States of 150,000 tons of chemical warfare agents as well as bacterial warfare agents containing some pretty nasty things like Cholera, Anthrax.

Another tidbit that I didn't know -- The strain of Anthrax used in the 2001 incidents was one produced at Texas A&M for the US Army researchers. As I said, my knowledge in this area is weak. So perhaps this was more commonly known, but it was a surprise to me.

On the nuclear side virtually everything is covered from the first design work in World War II to the North Korean Nuclear Weapons Program's announcements in 2002.

If I have to pick out anything wrong with these books, it would be that I noticed one or two typos. And of course, I would like to see even more included, a good report on the SL-1 reactor accident for instance, the biggest (non-bomb) radiation leak in the US. To be sure you can find out about this on the web, and where do you stop when your book is already over a thousand pages.

Very highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By P. Nagy on December 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Weapons of Mass Destruction: An Encyclopedia of Worldwide Policy, Technology, and History, 2 volumes by Jeff Larsen, James Wirtz, Eric Croddy (ABC-CLIO) (1-85109-495-4 On-line e-book, see publisher)

The first accessible reference to cover the history, context, current issues, and key concepts surrounding biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons.

The United States has conducted some 900 atomic tests since 1945 and has stockpiled enough smallpox vaccine to inoculate most of the U.S. population. The topic of weapons of mass destruction is perhaps the most controversial subject of our time. Policy debates require understanding of key issues, concepts, and events.

A collection of information on everything from aerosols to zones of peace, these two volumes cover historical background, technology, and strategic implications of biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons, thus providing facts, terms, and context needed to participate in contemporary policy debate. This encyclopedia is the only comprehensive reference dedicated to the three types of weapons of mass destruction.

With over 500 entries arranged alphabetically, volume one covers biological and chemical weapons, while volume two focuses on nuclear weapons. Experts from eight countries cover issues related to these weapons, policies, strategies, technologies, delivery vehicles, arms control concepts, treaties, and key historical figures and locations. Entries are written to make difficult concepts easy to understand by cutting through military and scientific jargon. Students, lay readers, scientists, and government policy makers are provided with the broad range of information needed to place today's policy discussions in proper strategic or historical context.
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